The University of Coimbra is the Harvard of Portugal, except it was established in 1290. university
Another exception is that upper classmen wear academic robes.

Upper classmen at Coimbra

Upper classmen at Coimbra

The day we visited we saw students in traditional dress parading down the main street of Coimbra singing Fado (traditional music). IMG_1355
Freshman however, and everyone else, dress in street clothes.

Coimbra townies

Coimbra townies

another townie

another townie

A shop in town had a pretty strange display:

student?

student?

townies?

townies?

We came across what I would call freshman initiation rituals. This brought back memories of the first week of college, getting up at dawn and having to duckwalk across the athletic field, of getting hoses turned on us and many other humiliations. But freshman initiation only lasted a week. In Coimbra it goes on all year.
The tradition is called Praxe, started in Coimbra in the 14th century. It’s a wonder any studying gets done. Well, that sounds familiar, now that I think of it.

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